Did you know that Romania is the headquarters of trafficking in Europe? Romania remains the primary source country for sex and labor trafficking in Europe, according to a recent article from Romania Insider.* 72% of identified trafficking victims in 2020 were involved in sex trafficking, and children represented nearly 50% of those victims. Disturbingly, due to the pandemic, there has been a reported increase in recruitment of children via the internet and social media. According to Romania Insider, the Romanian government is now investigating more trafficking cases, convicting more traffickers and establishing a dedicated unit for prosecuting trafficking crimes, but it is still not enough. Government agencies have been unable to screen for trafficking indicators and identity victims, especially among vulnerable populations. There is also a lack of funding for assistance and protection for victims, leaving past victims susceptible to further trafficking and abuse.
Children living in Romanian government orphanages have housing, but it is far from a home. In 2013, CTL began “Home of Hope” - a residential living program for children who were abandoned to the Romanian social/childcare system and extremely vulnerable to trafficking. The children under the care of Home of Hope have all been rescued from government-run orphanages. God is at work in their lives and stories, and we believe He has chosen and purposed them to grow in His truth and do wonderful things in His name.
There were six girls in that initial program (who have all been adopted, opening space for new girls to benefit!), and there is now a second Home of Hope for boys. CTL’s goal for Home of Hope is to provide a stable family environment founded on commitment to Christian principles. The Homes of Hope provide the children with love, care, support, education, medical care, nutritious food, clothing and other personal needs - truly a home, not simply a house. God is using the ministry of Home of Hope as one answer to the Romanian trafficking crisis that Europe continues to face.
Children to Love provides support for trafficked children in all the countries where we minister and works to prevent trafficking through the various programs of our partner ministries. Children in government-run institutions (such as orphanages) or on the streets in places like Romania, India, Uganda, Ukraine and Thailand are at an increased risk for trafficking, as they are a vulnerable population often subject to abuse and neglect. This is why the work of our ministry partners is so important and impactful in the lives of children and families.
*For more information or to read the full article, click here.
One of the recent celebrations at the Homes of Hope is that the children finished reading through the entire Bible in one year! They joined with an organization called Romanian Bible League and the staff there helped with the structure, follow-ups and encouragement. The Home of Hope staff also walked with them every step of the way, offering guidance and reading right alongside them. It was wonderful to see how much information the kids retained from their reading, picking up on details of scripture that even adults often miss! We continue to pray that the Lord will touch their hearts and minds through the Word and that their lives would be forever changed.